Background: The CDC recently organized a panel to examine whether a series of constructs consistently acted as risk and/or direct protective factors for youth violence across four longitudinal studies. Analyses first examined constructs commonly assessed across all four studies and then included constructs unique to each study. Purpose: This paper describes findings from the Pittsburgh Youth Study (PYS) as part of this supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine documenting the findings from the project. Methods: Participants were boys in the youngest cohort of the PYS (N=503), which was initiated in 1987-1988. Constructs measured at age 12 years were trichotomized to test whether they acted as risk and/or direct protective factors in predicting violence (i.e., assault, rape, robbery) across ages 13-14 years and 15-18 years. Results: Multivariate logistic regressions with predictors present across studies indicated that depressed mood (OR=1.96) and low religious observance (OR=1.88) were risk factors for violence at ages 13-14 years, whereas peer delinquency acted as both a risk (OR=2.34) and direct protective factor (OR=0.44). Low peer delinquency was also a direct protective factor (OR=0.41) for violence at ages 15-18 years. Analyses including predictors specific to the PYS indicated that negative attitude toward delinquency (OR=0.50) was protective against violence at ages 13-14 years, whereas the risk factors of low perceived likelihood of being caught (OR=1.81) and high neighborhood disorder/crime (OR=1.77) predicted violence at ages 15-18 years. Conclusions: Some factors may be best conceptualized as direct protective factors for nonviolence, whereas other constructs act primarily as risk factors that increase the probability of adolescent violence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health